The visual web indexed by Google, Bing and other search engines is well known to all.
It’s the go-to everyday engine that allows people to type in a query and find information, or make a purchase from an ecommerce site.
This is the part of the web that is publicly open and available, but an unregulated web has led to illicit activities that many people do not realize exists.
The open web is small in comparison to the deep and dark web. In fact, it’s only 4% of the content across the entire web.
Cool Tech Zone calls it “the surface web.” It’s used for the standard public websites such as Wikipedia, Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, retail stores, and more.
The deep web is the middle part. It is also called the invisible or hidden web, and cannot be accessed directly using Chrome, Safari, Opera or other types of browsers.
Accessing it requires encryptions, passwords, and software.
It is not indexed for search engines, and estimated to contain more than 90% of the entire web. It is used for legal and illegal activities, and a variety of confidential information, government records, legal documents, and financial transactions.
The dark web, or darknet, is restricted to specific browsers and not publicly accessible. It involved encrypted networks, and estimated to contain about 6% of the entire web.
A vast number of illegal activities are carried out on this part. It is used for anonymous transmissions, drug trafficking, protests, and onion sites, but also law enforcement and intelligence agencies, police, and surveillance groups use it to track criminals. Most are entirely unaware this type of internet exists.
The Tor Browser and its default search engine, DuckDuckGo, is used to access the darknet. It also requires specific search engines.
There are multiple search engines that can be used to access the darknet.
Some marketers may recognize and some may not. They include DuckDuckGo, notEvil, Candle, Gibiru, Torch, Ahmia, Parazite, The Hidden Wiki, Tor Links, HayStack, and Virtual Library.
Searching from Google or Bing vs. one of these “illegal search engine” provides entirely different query results. Hamna Imran, cyber security student and author, compared searches on Google and Bing, vs. darknet browsers and search engines.
When searching for "fake UK passports" on the torch search engine, it serves up results to buy fake passports. Although these are fake passports, this data is added to the UK immigration database, according to Imran.
The same search on Google shows completely different results. Instead of providing links or sites for getting the fake UK passports, Google serves up news about UK passports, although it searches on the same keyword.
It confirms the difference between web pages available on legal and illegal search engines, and proves that illegal search engines such as torch can access the webpages beyond the scope of legal search engines.
Illicit merchants, traders, hackers, spies, and different harmful organizations generate a major security threat for every user on the darknet.
The user may unintentionally enter an unauthorized area being monitored, for example, by law enforcement.
It is here where security risks increase and become incredibly complex, much more so than what people face today on the open web.